(Photo credit: Winslow Townson / AP Photo)

By Karoline Sears | Follow me on Mastodon: @spelled_with_a_k and Substack

The news of Patrice Bergeron’s retirement hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only am I absolutely crushed to hear that Boston’s all-time greatest defensive forward is hanging up the skates, but he is also the first truly great player who is the exact same age as I am to step away from the game. Let’s take a quick look at this future hall of famer’s career.

When I think of the kind of hockey player Bergy has been over the better part of two decades, I think of three things: his defensive abilities, his on-ice contributions, and his ability to slay the faceoff dot. There are a lot of ways to look at those qualities, but I am going to focus on takeaways, individual points percentage (IPP), and faceoff win percentage (FOW).

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With a record of six Selke trophies, they might as well re-name it the Bergeron trophy. I can say with confidence that there has never been such a defensive forward like him in the history of the NHL. He is the archetype of the ideal center, A player who quarterbacks both the forward and defensive lines. He skates all 200 feet of the ice and picks the puck off of opponents with ease. His ability to see a play forming from the other end of the ice, catch up, and stop it is what every coach dreams of in his 1C.

Take a look at the graph below; in all of my visuals, I have marked out vertical lines indicating the years he was awarded a Selke trophy. I divided up the seasonal total count of his takeaways over the course of each season by three situation types. He just made it look easy.

This is just nuts.

Individual Points Percentage

I’m a big fan of this particular stat. It measures the percentage of instances a forward is on the ice and earns a point when his team scores a goal. The average is 68% for forwards. I do want to point out a weird outlier in my data from NaturalStatTrick – in the 2008-2009 season, you will see Bergy had an IPP of more than 100% in a penalty kill setting (PK); without digging too deeply into the past data, either there is a recording error or he was involved in a goal being scored by the Bruins on the Bruins.

That being said, just look at this:

He is Mr. Dependable

When it comes to shorthanded goals on the PK, I often think of Brad Marchand. Even if that’s the case, Bergy probably touched it before it went in. And as you can see in the graph above, there are multiple seasons where Bergeron had a 100% IPP on the PK. For every shorthanded goal that happened while he had been on the ice, he contributed in a direct way to that goal.


Last season, Bergy was one of four players to have a FOW over 60%. He has consistently topped the charts in this stat. Ask any dyed-in-the-wool Bruins fan, and they could tell you if he was having an off night if his FOW was at or below 50%. The league-wide average FOW last season was 56.8%; as you can see below, he has been at or above that red-dashed line in all situations for pretty close to his entire career.

While the actual FOW average changes each year, the red line shows the average from the 22-23 season across Bergy’s whole career.

The Bumper

I’ll close out by sharing a fun little visual of Bergy’s office. As far as I can recall, nobody ever called it that, but if I asked you where he liked to set up, you know the answer: the bumper, the slot, the high-danger zone. Whatever you called it, he had his favorite place to park and do damage. This is exactly where you shoot from for those high-danger scoring chances and exactly the place where goalies don’t want you to be.

2022-2023 scoring locations – almost all of them in the bumper.

I don’t remember exactly when I heard this story or even where it was from; someone in an interview once described how Bergeron would spend hours right in the slot practicing one-timers over and over again until it was part of his natural muscle memory. Considering how effortless he made it look, I absolutely believe that story. I don’t know who will be taking over that spot on the ice, but I know it will be a sizeable gap for a while. I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite Bergeron moment.

Bergeron! Bergeron! Bergeron!